A place for Revit updates, Revit news, and Revit information.
Why should you be using BIM
The world is changing, and are you changing with it? Can you see the wave of the future, and are you on top of it, behind it, or about to be crushed by it?
The info graphic below from LineShapeSpace.com lays out the trends of the BIM industry. If you are in the Architecture Industry and you have not learned Revit yet, YOU NEED TO! Below the info graphic states that "62% of BIM users surveyed say they see positive ROI (Return on Investment) on their overall investment in BIM." They didn't ask me, but I would agree 100%! So now the percentage is now more like 62.0001%.
To begin learning Revit, start by reading this brief "Starter Guide", and download some free templates.
Increasing your Revit Skills
I really want to encourage everyone, from entry level to the senior level, to read this next post. Steve Stafford is the creator of the website www.revitoped.com, he is the author of four chapters of "Introducing Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012" (list below), and he is a Revit trainer and consultant.
Chapter 5 - Visibility Controls
Chapter 6 - Introduction to Families
Chapter 8 - Groups
Chapter 17 - Creating Families
Don't take what Steve says lightly, he preaches the fundamentals, and whether you are a student of Legendary Basketball coach John Wooden or Cheif Gorden Ramsey, the fundamentals are what matter.
Here is preview of whats to come, Steve discusses:
Since I conducted this interview though email, after Steve's responses I will interject some of my own in red.
For a fresh perspective, not necessary new, but re-refreshing... read below.
1) Steve it seems like you have had a lot of experiences working with different firms and people, could you tell us one story that amuses you about teaching Revit?
I worked with a company many years ago that started using Revit pretty early on too. They had completed two residential towers that they used Revit for but they still felt like they weren't confident with Revit. They were very hard on themselves. I tried to encourage them to take at least some credit for success. Considering there were many firms back then just trying to decide if they should use Revit at all they had two large buildings that were finished already, real "live" buildings! When I first met them this same firm had very different impressions of Revit depending on who you talked to. One "side" thought Revit was no good for CD's,(Construction Documents) but great for SD (Schematic Design) and the other "side" thought it was great for CD's but not SD. I remember vividly being shocked at their polar opposite sense of Revit's strengths, all in the same building.
2) When you go into a firm to each them Revit what is your approach, and what would you tell firms to expect?
When I first got into consulting I thought "my way" was clear, that I knew what "everybody" needed to do. If they just do this and that then they'll do great! Well I realized pretty quickly that every firm is as unique as the people that work there. Their leadership, the people that create, the people that manage day to day affairs. They may all "do" architecture or engineering but somehow they all really feel different, at least to me. The kind of work they focus on and how they go about creating their work for their clients is always different, even if only in subtle ways.
That means I don't go in preaching things, I try to listen to what they are doing, what they are about. I certainly have my opinions and I'm not afraid to share them with them, but they managed to make a mark in their profession without me, so I need to see how I can be an asset to them. If it is just some form of training it's a bit simpler, I try to pass on as much knowledge as I can in the time we have together.
I try to push them to re-examine their assumptions and encourage them to believe they can be successful if they express doubt. If I can... they certainly can.
If I'm there for higher level discussions regarding the business strategy then it a different conversation, less tangible perhaps, more thought provoking. Since I'm not running a business like theirs they don't expect me to tell them how to do things day to day, but I do see a lot of businesses very much like theirs and I see how they succeed and fail in many big and little ways. For example, how inward looking is the firm, do they really evaluate themselves fairly, well...at all? Do they communicate what the firm is about to everyone well, instill a positive culture? Who do they consider admirable peers, what work do they aspire to? What are their motivations? Are they supporting their staff well? Do they avoid telling staff they are for BIM but quietly tell them with their actions that they aren't sure? Do they lose staff as soon as they reach certain plateaus? I could go on and on...
Steve you hit running a firm on the head. Often it is those big questions that firms fail to answer that can tear them apart or make them great.
3) What are some common mistakes you see in Revit and what are your solutions?
People are always under pressure to get "this done" so they can get to the "next thing". This means that they usually only learn enough to get "this done" now, without leaving an opportunity to figure out how to do it better or faster. Worse they just repeat what worked last time, next time. The old adage is really true; "You need to take time to sharpen the saw".
One of the best things a firm gets from a consultant is a fresh perspective. Funny enough fresh doesn't necessarily mean "new". If you consider that for the most part the people inside their walls know each other already and all think they know what each other knows too, they know what to expect if they ask someone a question. Introduce me as a consultant...many times I've gone into an office and said many of the exact things their in-house Revit person has been preaching. I get more respect because I'm not "him/her"...they don't know me yet so I'm mysterious. What it really means is that because they don't know me they are much more likely to be receptive to me, at least for a little while. That's completely unfair to this in-house person but it is essentially how we behave, human nature so to speak. Taking time to examine what we do and "sharpening the saw" is critical.
4) In Revit, normally there is a "proper" way to model, and a "cheat" quick way to model. What "cheats" do you see people do which normally in the end take longer than the "proper" ways?
"I only need the furniture to be 2D". "I don't need to store those results for later". "That's not my problem, that's his problem." He used SketchUp because it's faster for him but I ended up modelling everything over again. I just used floors for countertops so we missed all the counters in our estimate. I used in-place modelling for the entire foundation and now only one person can work on it.
"Cheats" are inherently selfish, we disregard the impact our choices have on others. This business is meant to be far more collaborative, we have to start thinking beyond ourselves.
That is refreshing Steve, I hope people take that to heart. Sometimes the right way is hard, and less and less people do it. You can stand out in your profession just by being professional, and when you think about it that's not too hard, it is actually simple.
5) What is your favorite thing to do in Revit, what gets you really excited about Revit?
I really enjoy seeing people becoming confident with Revit. It is a "proud professor" moment. I now realize how teachers feel when their students come by for a visit later on in life (well at least some of those students). Getting to see buildings in various cities that I helped past students with is very cool! I remember walking through Sacramento once and thinking, "Why does that building look so familiar? Slowly realizing, HEY I know that building!!"
I find when you design or work on a building in Revit, when you see the building in real life it is like you have x-ray vision. You can see the guts of the building, its interior walls, floors, structure and HVAC system just buy looking at it. If you were involved in the project from the beginning, it is like you can see into the projects past also. It is a very cool feeling.
6) What is the most common question you get from clients and what is the most likely solution?
"Should I use Revit?" Why yes, of course! :)
Actually the most common question is, "What is your schedule like next month?" Hopefully my answer is, "Busy but not too busy to work with you again!" Haha As for common Revit question? It wanders around a bit. Sometimes there is a worksharing convergence in the "force", other times its about creating families... there really isn't one question that every client asks without fail, well...other than about my schedule.
7) What is a Revit trick, shortcut, or way of doing something would you wish someone would have told you long ago?
I may be getting old but I haven't been shocked or surprised with a tip in a long time. Let's see... if I go back to a eureka moment years ago... I remember when Matt Jezyk shared a tip for family editors, If you want to apply a value to many types at once, add it to the formula field, click Apply, then delete the value from the formula field, the value "sticks" for all the types in the family. I had written a blog post complaining about working families and Matt shared that pearl afterward. It made my immediate situation better for awhile!
8) If you were passing by a student in a hallway and you could only impart 30 seconds of personal Revit wisdom on them, what would you say?
Model it like you build it! Stay curious! Always find a challenging problem to solve, especially ones that mean you have to learn something else to solve it. That's what forums like AUGI and RevitForum.org and others are great for, they are like a "testing laboratory". People ask all kinds of questions there. If you are able to answer even a small percentage of them you are growing.
Keep in mind I'm not saying that they need to answer them all in the forums...just able to. :)
"Model like you build it!" is exactly what we say here in our "What is Revit Guide" It is one of the best pieces of advice that I give, and please click on the link above to read more.
9) Is there any plugin that you would say every Revit user should be aware of and use? If so can you give us a quick review of it and why it is so important?
Anybody working in teams ought to have Worksharing Monitor at their disposal. It is a little quirky perhaps but the fact that we can see who is actively in the project as well as syncing or reloading at any time is invaluable. My personal favorite is the little sneaky history button, very informative info. My second pick is the Space Naming Utility for MEP users, unreasonable to work without it. Nearly all the other apps out there are very personal, idiosyncratic in that they cater to very specific user types. The API is the next frontier however, there are so many solvable problems that Autodesk may never get to that a person that is savvy with programming and Revit API can deal with...NOW.
10) Is there anything else you would like to add that we didn't cover?
No... just "Stay coordinated my friends" (said in the voice of the Most Interesting man in the world)
Thanks again for reading! We are continuing striving to bring you up to date relevant Revit information. If you liked this post please share it, and remember to have fun!
What Revit Wants
Starting with this inaugural post Revit Furniture will start posting interviews with some of the top bloggers of the world. Our first Q&A session is with Luke Johnson of "What Revit Wants" Luke hails from the down under, and his topic of preference is how a person "thinks" when using Revit. He has vast Revit knowledge, and is a systems Manager at Dimond Architects. As you will see below Luke is smart and has a lot of insights to offer.
More specifically, in this session you’ll find out about:
1) Luke could you tell us a little about your background? Where you went to school, where you work, and what your passion is?
I grew up on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. It is a beautiful place, and I have enjoyed living here very much (now with my wife and two small children). I have been working at Dimond Architects for the past 8 years. It is a firm that punches far above its weight - by that I mean that it is a relatively small operation, but the Directors have strived to keep pace with current technology and practices, and we have been involved in a number of significant projects throughout Queensland. You should watch this space, however... I'm moving to Adelaide in June, and will be starting work in a new firm - more details on this later!
My passion is really my family - in the end, I enjoy working with Revit and 'collaborating' in the BIM sense of the word, but we all have to go home at the end of the day. For me, I love that moment when you get home and the kids are there waiting to give you a big hug. Its like, working hard and working full time is really worth it, if I can provide for my family properly.
2) When you are approaching creating a project in Revit, what sort of questions should you be asking yourself? What mindset should you be in?
You really do need to pause at that moment before hit 'New' to make a new project in Revit. What sort of project will this be? What is the timeline and project program? Are we under severe time pressure, or can we set this project up to be something that is 'solid as a rock' in terms of best-practice BIM? The right mindset is important.
Try not to stress too much about the software. Revit can seem daunting at times, but in the end, it is a tool for accomplishing work. You are in control of it, not vice versa. At various points in the project lifespan (including those formative moments when you are setting up a model), you will have to ask yourself "What is the best way to accomplish the project goal?" Do you need to model everything in 3D? Is it more important to set up smart parameters for scheduling and tagging - perhaps making the model super intelligent but not necessarily super detailed Will you be the only staff member on this project, or do you need to determine some way to logically divide the modelling tasks between users? Are you going to go through many sketch iterations and rapid changes early in the project, and do you need to track these (think Design Options)? Is the model ever going to be a deliverable, and does it need to comply with any particular standard - either an internal one, or perhaps a BIM standard enforced by some regulatory authority?
3) What mindset or thought process is counterproductive to working in Revit?
There a few that immediately come to mind. Some questions and thoughts are actually a waste of time and emotional energy, like:
You really need to commit to using Revit. Yes, it can be a difficult learning curve. The initial excitement quickly wears off, as you are faced with numerous choices you don't really understand, and this long list of "I don't know how to do this" tasks. But you will learn. You have to. Revit is not going away - it is becoming more widespread every day. Just be happy that you are sitting there using Revit - you have been given a great opportunity for learning and advancement. But you need to be open-minded, quick to listen and learn and ask questions, and slow to give up. Stick with it, you won't be disappointed. All the little bits and pieces will start to come together and 'click' in your mind, trust me.
4) If you were teaching someone Revit what outline would you give them? What would you tell them to learn first, second, and so on..
I think one of the best ideas is to take an existing set of CAD documents (preferably from a building that you have drafted), and redraw that building in Revit. You have the advantage of knowing what the building looks like and how it goes together - you just have to try to recreate that in the software. Don't be too stressed about making every little graphic element look the same between the drawings, but do try to use good modelling technique from the start. Model elements on the appropriate Category and using the appropriate tools. When you are starting out, at least make an effort to fit in with how the program is 'supposed' to function. You can start to bend and break these rules later, when you understand the pros and cons of what you are actually doing...
After doing some basic modelling, I would recommend spending some time doing some tagging and scheduling. Experiment with things - what can you tag, what can't you tag? How can you manipulate information in Schedules, total certain columns, export to Excel. I think its important to expose yourself to the fact that elements in Revit have 'intelligence'. Sure, you can see them in 3D. But the real beauty and power of Revit is that everything is linked together to the underlying data related to an element.
5) What is a Revit trick, shortcut, or way of doing something would you wish someone would have told you long ago?
I'll give you four:
6) What is the most common mistake you see in revit models or building revit content?
In the form of a rant - If something is a wall, use the Wall tool. If its a floor, use a Floor. If its a benchtop, use Casework. I may seem to be labouring the point, but one of the most frustrating things that I consistently see is the complete misuse of one Revit tool or category, when a better and more appropriate option already exists!
As far as content goes, I think the biggest mistake is over modelling or making super detailed models. Trust me, from time to time I am guilty of this. But it comes back to setting a content goal - what is purpose of this content? If it is just to fill up a schedule, use the most basic form you can get away with. If something is unnecessarily detailed, it can really slow a project down.
7) If you were passing by a student in a hallway and you could only impart 30 seconds of Revit wisdom on them, what would you say?
Revit geeks are generally better paid and more employable than those with a Phd in Architecture. If you want to succeed in Revit, take the time to get to know it properly. Spend time reading up on best practices. Subscribe to blogs and Twitter accounts of professional Revit users. And some student-specific wisdom - its fun to learn how to model crazy and organic forms in Revit, but in a real office, you might spend about 5% of your time doing that. Over 80% of your time will probably be spent using Revit on a real building. So try to learn how a building actually goes together. Go on site visits. Do some construction labouring. If you know how a building is built, and you know how Revit elements are related to real-world building elements, you will go far.
8) Where do you see the future of Revit, what is it's significance, and potential?
There is a lot of talk about 3D printing, CNC, direct to manufacture modelling. And I do think things will continue to head that way. I guess one of the big unknowns is "how much will Revit end up doing". I'll try to explain - Microsoft Word is a great tool. It has been around for many years, and has gone through many many versions with features added to each version. But in the end, it is still just a word processing tool. You need Excel for spreadsheets, Outlook for emails, Powerpoint for slideshows, and so it goes on. So where will Revit end up? AutoCAD is a great drafting tool - fast, accurate, powerful. Its 3D engine is very strong. And yet there was room for Revit to develop, grow, and now flourish. Will Revit become an 'all in one' building model management tool? I actually hope that it does. I would love if it became the vehicle for all building elements and systems to be created, integrated and linked together. I want things to become simpler - I want to deal with less pieces of software, not more.
A few things need to happen - cloud integration and Revit needs to become a reality. Something that is fast, user friendly, reliable. Is part of the solution to use hosted Revit in a Citrix type environment? Perhaps, but there are performance problems with that at the moment. Revit Server is good, but requires a certain commitment in terms of setup and maintenance.
I kind of have this dream that Revit and VEO somehow get smashed together - bringing VEO's awesome speed and cloud intelligence, and combining it with Revit's powerful parametric engine and content creation ability. Can you imagine the benefits to collaboration speed? A single BIM super-software. Bring it on!
9) Is the anything else you would like to add that we didn't cover?
I'd just like to thank all of the followers of What Revit Wants, those who have liked the Facebook page, and my Twitter followers. Sharing information about Revit is something I enjoy, but it really is a team effort. So many people have helped me over the years, and I hope that I have been able to pay some of that forward. Thanks!
If you enjoyed this post pleas share it with your friends by posting it on facebook, or tweeting it by clicking below. Thanks again for reading. If you haven't read our "What is Revit" article click here.
Here is an interesting article about the inspired role the architecture profession could take. Where are the Architect Heroes?